Sunday, June 25, 2017 This Week's Paper

1933 Pierce-Arrow 12 LeBaron Convertible

Pierce-Arrow was among the last of the luxury car marquee’s to switch to a larger engine. The company had a standard, six-cylinder engine when most of the other top-of-the-line makers were using 12 cylinders. But that ended for Pierce Arrow in 1927. 
The next year, the automaker introduced its Series 80 cars. It sold well, at about 5,000 cars, but it was not enough to bring up the bottom line, so a deal with Studebaker took form. A new engine came to life. It featured an L-head design that was much lighter than the big T-head six it was replacing and rated at 12 brake horsepower and had 25 more power, from 12 percent less displacement than the outgoing engine. The new model, dubbed the Model 133 for its wheelbase, started at $2,775, far less than the Model 36 – the cheapest model in 1928 – which sold for $5,800. The new engine served the company well, with 8,000 cars sold. 
Then the Great Depression arrived. Luxury cars took a hit. The company played the bankruptcy card and found itself with new owners as the economy began to improve.
A large, 462-cubic-inch, 175 horsepower engine rolled off the line in 1933. The Pierce-Arrow 12 Convertible Sedan Model has a wheelbase that measures 137 inches, and there are four-wheel mechanical brakes. Less than 200 were made, with only eight currently known to still exist. Only four with the LeBaron label were made; all but one are in museums.